After spending almost a year away from the courts, World No. 47 Nick Kyrgios is eager to get back in the action as he kicks off the season on home soil at the Murray River Open alongside top seed Stan Wawrinka and #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Kyrgios last played at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC last February, opting not to compete after the Tour’s five-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the often restless 25-year-old, the unexpected time off at home gave him a much-needed chance to recharge that he said has left him feeling mentally “refreshed”.

“Last year was a crazy year. I was incredibly lucky to just be with my family and friends and just kind of reset on everything,” Kyrgios said in a pre-tournament press conference. “I feel mentally completely refreshed, ready to go again.”

During the Tour’s five-month stoppage, Kyrgios stayed away from the tennis courts as he took advantage of the time off to immerse himself in other interests. But he got right back to work as this Australian swing approached, enjoying the relaxed restrictions in his hometown to continue training.

“I was lucky enough that Jordan Thompson came down to Canberra for the past month, so we were training together,” Kyrgios said, revealing that he’s been hitting for two hours a day for the past several months ahead of the Melbourne events. “I just felt mentally I felt like I was in a place [of] wanting to play and [I] feel refreshed.”

Kyrgios will have to be in top form from the start as he faces an early challenge at the Murray River Open. He will open against France’s Alexandre Muller, and could face Bernard Tomic in their first Tour-level clash should they both advance to the second round.

“I’m just happy to be around it again. I am excited to get out there and play,” Kyrgios said. “[Let’s] see how it goes. Hopefully I can have some good results, as well…

“Everyone is really playing it by ear. Nobody really knows who is in form and who is not. I’m going to take it day by day and try to enjoy myself as much as I can.”